EARLY — A three-time state qualifier in the Class 3A girls pole vault, Early Lady Horn senior Tuesdi Tidwell on Tuesday afternoon signed a national letter of intent to continue her education and track and field career at Baylor University.

Tidwell opted for Baylor after receiving significant interest from UT-Arlington, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Texas Tech.

“I had a good feeling when I went on my recruiting trip, but I went ahead and visited other schools to make sure Baylor was the school for me and no other school would be as good of a fit,” Tidwell said. “I absolutely love the coaches, the teammates and the facility. Everything worked out perfect for me. It feels great to get the weight off my shoulders and know what the future is and where I’m going to go.”

Early High School athletic director Blake Sandford attended the signing ceremony and said of Tidwell, “Tuesdi’s continually worked hard since her freshman year to get better at pole vaulting, which takes a special person to have that skill. She’s worked like she was a college athlete since she was young, taking time outside of regular time to work on her craft. It’s a great testament to her work ethic and the type kid Tuesdi is.”

As a freshman, Tidwell qualified for state in the pole vault and finished tied for sixth place, clearing a height of 11 feet. Her sophomore season, Tidwell earned a silver medal as she finished in a three-way tie for second, eclipsing 11-6. Last year as a junior, Tidwell matched her sophomore height of 11-6, which was good for fourth place.

Tidwell established a new personal record of 12-6 during the Comanche Relays on March 9, which is equal to the Class 3A girls state meet record. Tidwell won the District 6-3A pole vault championship last week, and has the area meet this week and regionals next weekend before a hopeful fourth state appearance.

“I for sure want to go to state and I’m really hoping I can break the state meet record,” Tidwell said. “My PR is tied with the record so I’m hoping I can get that and a gold medal at state.”

Tidwell is excelling at more than just the pole vault during her senior year. She earned a total of four gold medals at the District 6-3A track and field meet, winning the pole vault (12-0), long jump (16-1) and triple jump (33-6), while also teaming up with Trinity Tomlinson, Parker Smith and Jensen Hutchins to capture the 4x200 relay (1:49.41).

“I feel like it’s been my best year,” Tidwell said. “It’s really great because I get to work with so many coaches and I get to perform for them, God and my family through all these events instead of just my main one.”

Another highlight of the season for Tidwell came during the Bluebonnet Relays, where she was presented the first Mckenzie Cox Memorial Scholarship, in honor of the 2016 Brownwood High School graduate and state qualifier in the high jump who died in a car accident in November.

“I was very honored to receive that,” Tidwell said.

Sandford stated Tidwell’s achievements have turned her into a role model for not only her classmates, but Longhorns and Lady Horns coming up the ranks.

“What Tuesdi has shown is that even coming from a small school like Early, if you put in the hard work and have the dedication good things can happen,” Sandford said. “You just have to keep trying, keep plugging and keep working and your dreams can be realized. It’s an honor for us, her teammates and her coaches, to have Tuesdi as an example of what we are here at Early.”

Looking ahead to Baylor, Tidwell welcomes the opportunity to continue to improve.

“Some competitions are the starting height of my PR right now, so I need to up my PR and be able to start higher than I am right now,” she said, “but I know I can get there with the help of Coach (Brandon) Richards at Baylor.”

Tidwell thanked her family for helping make her dream become a reality.

“It’s been a team effort,” Tidwell said. “My family has done just as much as I have to get me where I am today.”